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Louise’s Pick: The Devil’s Candy
Now, this was actually a pretty tough year for me in terms of picking a top – there are lots of films that I have a deep emotional love for, films which jam themselves into my happy place, but not necessarily films that I would unabashedly call masterpieces (or ever want to see again, thanks, Brie Larson!).
I only saw The Devil’s Candy in the last year, but honestly, it instantly launched itself near the top of my best-of horror list (and given my unending obsession with the genre, that’s saying something). I expected, what with that title and all, a fun horror B-movie that would serve to discard a fun evening in front of, but what I got was so much more.
Sean Byrne writes and directs this strange, discomforting horror parable, that follows the violent exploits of a child serial killer (a soft, terrifying Pruitt Taylor Vince), and his apparent psychic connection with a local painter (Ethan Embry) as he plans his next crimes. It’s the sort of premise that could descend all too easily into ugly, exploitative garbage, but Byrne knows just how to balance the truly disturbing elements with striking and gorgeously-styled directorial choices to unfold a nightmarish fever dream that leans more on psychological drama than the more visceral horror.
The Devil’s Candy is, as so many of the films on these lists have been, a beautiful film about abjectly horrible subject matter. I’m not sure if I would rush to watch it again, but damn, am I glad that I took a chance on it and got to experience Byrne’s hideous and distinctive vision in all its glory.
Kev’s Pick: Mad Max: Fury Road
Honourable Mentions: Sicario, Carol, The Force Awakens, Anomalisa, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
There are two wolves inside of you. One is the film fan, the kind that gives the word film a couple of extra f’s when describing himself. The other is the young movie fan (the one that all of pop culture is apparently aimed at) who realized at four years old that every Disney movie followed the same formula that he would get bored rather than upset when the main duo inevitably fell out. This critic loves action films and I owe him one considering Take Shelter beat The Raid.
Yet Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t mere catnip for the action fan, even the pretentious prick in me was lightly clapping his gloved palms as George Miller unleashed the most astonishing mayhem, revived a character that could have died the moment a certain Aussie actor uttered the word “sugartits”, and most importantly gave us a hero for our times in Charlize Theron’s Furiosa.
What beautiful carnage, what gorgeous film-making, and next time you watch Fury Road, pay attention to the editing of the final chase, it’s astounding enough to earn its place on this list alone.
(header image via Kim Newman)